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Councilor Teodulfo Lao Jr. (above, left) and city engineer Rolando Pacuribot (right) inspect work at the site of Rio Verde Water Consortium Inc.’s damaged main steel pipe submerged in the Cagayan River in Taguanao, Barangay Indahag on Oc (photos by nitz arancon)

Water crisis won’t end today, Lao says


THE water crisis gripping western parts of the city and Opol town in Misamis Oriental is far from over.

Councilor Teodulfo Lao Jr. said this yesterday after he inspected the damaged main steel pipeline of Rio Verde Water Consortium Inc. in Taguanao, Barangay Indahag, and its facilities in Pualas, Baungon, Bukidnon.

Lao, chairman of the city council’s committee on public utilities, blamed the Cagayan de Oro Water District for the water crisis, saying the city’s water supply is its responsibility.

“Supplier ra man sila (Rio Verde) said COWD,” Lao said.

He said the crisis showed that COWD failed to keep pace with the growth of the city.

“Ang bola sa pagesolve sa water crisis dinhi sa atong syudad na-a sa COWD. Kinahanglan nga i-upgrade gyud ang water district,” Lao said.

He said he doubted if the water supply would normalize despite the assurance of Rio Verde senior vice president for operations Joffrey Hapitan that it would resume pumping 40 thousand cubic meters a day into COWD’s stations through a spare pipeline by 12 noon today.

The 40 thousand cubic meters is Rio Verde’s contractual obligation to COWD.

The spare pipe has a diameter of one meter and has been set up near the Emmanuel Pelaez Bridge.

Despite the assurance, Lao said, the 40 thousand cubic meters would still be insufficient vis-à-vis the increased demand for tap water in the city’s western areas and Opol town.

The COWD earlier said the 40 thousand cubic meters was a provision in the COWD-Rio Verde contract made years ago, and the demand has significantly increased since then. COWD said it was buying more than 40 thousand cubic meters from Rio Verde before the crisis started last week.

“Dili kita makapasalig nga wala nay reklamo sa katawhan kay kining 40 thousand (cubic meters) nga i-deliver sa Rio verde, dili pa man kini igo sa water demand sa western part sa Cagayan de Oro,” Lao said.

He said he, city engineer Rolando Pacuribot and other officials saw that Rio Verde suffered substantial damages in its 700-millimeter (diameter) main pipeline.

Lao said the repairs were ongoing.

COWD meanwhile said the crisis in most parts of its west service area since Sept. 25 would continue until Rio Verde finishes the repair of its main pipeline.

In a statement, COWD said the damage to Rio Verde’s 650-mm diameter pipeline crossing Cagayan River was attributed by the bulk water supplier to debris propelled by strong river currents brought by persistent heavy rains. COWD said this was stated in Rio Verde’s Sept. 28 formal notice of emergency repairs that was issued by Hapitan.

Reads part of the COWD statement: “Much as we understand the difficulty brought by this water supply problem, COWD and RVWCI assure the affected customers that best efforts are being exerted to mitigate its effects.

“We truly apologize for this unscheduled interruption and rest assured, measures will be undertaken to ensure that our facilities would be more resilient to be able to continue our services even in the midst of similar incidents in the future.”

COWD said based on Hapitan’s notice, Rio Verde utilized its 400-mm diameter back-up pipe along Pelaez Bridge in order to continue supply to COWD with an average flowrate of 1,200 cubic meters per hour or 28,800 cmpd with an accompanying pressure of 5psi.

COWD said that in the existing bulk supply contract, Rio Verde agreed to deliver 1,667 cmph or 40 thousand cmpd of treated water to COWD with an accompanying pressure of 70 psi. But it added that delivery to COWD in the past three months prior to Sept. 25 was 2,500 cmph or 60 thousand cmpd.

COWD said Hapitan stated in a Sept. 29 meeting that Rio Verde would be able to complete the repair in seven to 10 days.

But in an Oct. 2 meeting at the city council, Hapitan told councilors that Rio Verde would resume supplying COWD with 40 thousand cmpd with the required pressure by today using a 400-mm diameter back-up pipe.

In that same meeting, Hapitan claimed that the magnitude 5 earthquake in late September damaged its main pipeline.


About Nitz Arancon

Nitz Arancon
Nitz Arancon started his career in the broadcast media. He worked as a cameraman for a news program of a local TV station, and subsequently became a reporter and later, commentator of the now defunct radio station DxJR.

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